If you haven't read my posts from the start of this blog, I was a Mental Health Counselor for several years. I dealt with people who were in terrible situations, some caused by their own malfunctioning biology, some by external events.
Some of the saddest cases I dealt with were those who engaged in "non-fatal self-injury" known by most people as "cutting." While the reasons that cause this coping skill are different for each person, the reasons why are either the person feels emotionally numb and need to feel something, even pain, or they do it to convince themselves they have control over their body because they are in an untenable situation they have zero control over.
If you know of or find someone who engages in this behavior, NEVER NEVER NEVER try to get them (by whatever means) to stop that behavior. This is their "mental steam valve" and if you take this away from them, while this behavior is not good, worse things will happen. Cutting is a symptom and coping mechanism for a far deeper and serious issue.
I became overjoyed to have this article brought to my attention by a friend: This Girl’s Therapist Suggested Drawing On Her Body Instead of Cutting, And It Worked Beautifully. This is a great solution to the cutting symptom and why you shouldn't try to stop someone from using a coping skill (even a negative coping skill) You redirect the behavior into a positive skill. This redirection allows the person who continue to engage in their coping skill without doing further harm to themselves. The article at the bottom even gives drawing tips, hint and ideas on what and how to draw.
This won't work in all cases, however coping skills redirected from a negative to a positive skill provides the needed coping and redirects it into an empowering direction. Once the self-harm is stopped, help the person to address the reasons for the self-injury.